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Five-minute interview: Michelle Seifert, ATTO Technology

This time around, we put the questions to Michelle Seifert, international sales executive for ATTO Technology

Morning, Michelle, tell us what you do for a living.

I am an international sales executive for ATTO Technology, which involves a variety of customers including OEM, distribution and resellers.

Why are you the right person for this job?

Sales can be a difficult position – you need to be motivated and be able to adjust to changes. International sales has also allowed me to meet people from different regions and cultures around the world, which is very exciting.

What gets you up in the morning?

Ever since I can remember, I have been a morning person. I can’t wait to start the day! It’s a good thing that I like mornings because my position requires me to begin at 3am to maintain my European sales territory.

Who helped you get to where you are today?

I would say my drive to succeed and help others has helped me to get where I am today. My sales career has evolved from a support role to a territory manager, which then expanded over several years to include Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

What is the best or worst business advice you have received and from whom?

I once reported to a sales/marketing director who actually calculated the number of hours in a day, week, month and year people should devote to their job after deducting vacation and personal time. This way of thinking adds pressure to perform the best you can every day and make the most of each opportunity. This can be either good or bad advice depending on what kind of person you are – glass half-full or half-empty!

What advice would you give to someone starting out today in IT?

Be patient with new technology. It takes time to evolve and once it does – before you realise it – it’s gone and there is something else replacing it. That’s the exciting thing about our market: it’s technology and there is always something bigger, better and faster around the corner.

Is it possible to get through an industry conversation without mentioning ‘digital transformation’?

We might have a conversation that touches on things that fall under “digital transformation”, but we usually are talking to customers on a more detailed level about solving specific technical challenges.

What does the next five years hold for the channel?

Change will happen in the next five years in the IT channel with new protocols popping up, faster speeds, more datacentres, cryptocurrency, more storage requirements – the list goes on.

Tell us something most people do not know about you.

I love the outdoors and take any opportunity I can to go for hikes and bike. No technology required, off the grid. I also love to bake and used to sell my chocolate chip cookies. Even though I am asked all the time, I won’t give away my recipe to anyone!

Have you learnt anything new – guitar, painting, etc – during the pandemic?

The pandemic forced us all to slow down and step back from the way we were living. Less shopping and more time at home focusing on me.

What goal do you have to achieve before you die, and why?

Feeling satisfied with where I am, all the memories I have made – it’s been a good life.

What is the best book you’ve ever read?

Biography books are a favourite read for me. I love Lucille Ball – I live an hour from where she grew up. I could read about her life story and successes over and over. Not a book, but I will always check out a good magazine, such as People magazine.

And the worst film you’ve ever seen?

Sorry to say I have slept through so many movies my sons have wanted to watch in the theatre over the years – yes, fully asleep in a theatre! Where to begin…Superman, Pirates of the Caribbean – if it doesn’t keep my attention, it’s slumber time for me.

What would be your Desert Island MP3s?

My music choices are so varied. I enjoy Journey, John Denver, Elvis, 80s country and even rap: MC Hammer and Lil Nas.

What temptation can you not resist?

My weakness is candy – sugar, sugar, sugar. I once exchanged candy with someone who called ATTO for a sale – he worked for Nestlé HQ – I had to ask, and he came through with a box of chocolate! I am currently trying to go without it for the one millionth time – maybe this time I can kick my habit.

What was your first car and how does it compare with what you drive now?

My first car was a 1989 Dodge Omni – a little gold-coloured hatchback that I adored and called “Baby”. Driving to high school with my friends and commuting to college – what freedom! Today, I have a much larger ride with three rows of seats, including heated seats among tons of other features I would never think a car would have. Baby was simple: no power windows, no AC, but gave me freedom.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with? Why, what did they do?

The thought of being stuck in a lift with my husband would be awful. No patience to wait for help – I know he would try to escape on his own somehow, via the top hatch or wrenching the doors open.

If you could be any animal for a day, what would you be and why?

I love the otter exhibit at the zoo – playing all day, no worries, they feed you, clean your home, they have so much fun. Even in the wild they seem to have fun together.

If you were facing awesome peril and impossible odds, which real or fictional person would you most want on your side and why?

Terminator or Rambo – they will get you through anything! Relentless and protective!

And finally, a grizzly bear and a silverback gorilla are getting ready for a no-holds-barred rumble. Who is your money on and why?

I have seen the movies with Godzilla including the recent Godzilla vs King Kong. I am going with the gorilla – so many skills and strength.

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